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Rainfall a welcome relief to drought-parched area

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / June 1, 1998

LAPLACE – Water, water, anywhere? The drought-parched River Parishes area is eagerly hopeful, with a 30 percent chance of rainfall this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

May’s virtual absence of rain was briefly broken Thursday with a trace amount noted. Friday saw another, longer rainfall.However, the 28 days before without rain caused a strain on the St. Johnthe Baptist Parish system, according to utilities director Sammy Accardo.

St. John Parish President Arnold Labat issued a water emergency noticethis week, asking east bank residents to only water lawns, fill swimming pools only on days when garbage collections are made and only between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon.Those times and days were selected to better manage the water supply and ensure there is water for everyone when needed.

Accardo said water consumption is 35 percent above normal, where the normal seven million gallon consumption per day is now up to nearly 10 million gallons.

Peak hours of water consumption are from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9p.m., when many people cook, bathe, water lawns, wash vehicles andotherwise strain the system.

There is plenty of water, as supplies and reserves are up following a power failure near the Ruddock wells which stopped the pumps for a few hours last week.

“It’s nothing to do with a lack of water, just the water delivery system,” Accardo stressed. “As long as the public adheres to our request and workswith us, we’ll have no problems.”A new 24-inch water line from the Ruddock wells is due to be completed within a month, half of the line being in use already. That will keep waterflowing to the LaPlace/Reserve area more quickly.

Meanwhile, any water outages should be reported to the 9-1-1 system immediately so that it can be most quickly addressed.

“As long as we use good common sense, we’ll get through this period with few problems,” Accardo concluded.

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